South - No. 5 VCU vs. No. 12 SF Austin
Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: South Region – No. 5 VCU vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin

Line: VCU -6
Why To Pick VCU: This might not quite be a Final Four-worthy team, but it has the aggressiveness and the ability to screw up someone's tournament just be bringing the tough defense. The three point shooting should be enough to get the Rams up, but it'll be the pressure and the forced errors that should be the difference.
Why To Pick Stephen F. Austin: This is a good, sound team that doesn't turn the ball over like VCU needs it to. Great at forcing steals and mistakes, they could give the Rams a dose of their own medicine. They can gun when they need to, and they can match Shaka's team three for three.
The Pick: VCU 78-73. Stephen F. Austin can play, but it hasn't exactly faced a killer slate. It'll give VCU all it can handle, but the offense will fall flat late. It's tournament time - the Rams know what they're doing.

No. 4 South Region - VCU Rams
Head coach: Shaka Smart Record: 26-8 Conference: Atlantic 10

What You Need To Know: VCU is back to terrorize opponents with its frantic, pressing defense that wreaks havoc in backcourts and leads to easy buckets in transition on the other end. The D needs to create chances to get out in transition because the O's halfcourt game has left something to be desired - the Rams aren't blessed with great playmaking scorers. Treveon Graham is an experienced guard who does a little bit of everything, and he can take over games with both his scoring and his ability to get on the glass. Melvin Johnson was the only consistent perimeter shooter in the starting lineup, and he helped balance the floor a bit, but he tore his ACL in the conference tournament and is out. Juvonte Reddic is a banger inside who has an array of post moves and can be dominant vs. weaker bigs. Good depth allows VCU to keep fresh legs on the court at all times.
Strengths: Steals, Turnover Margin, Scoring Margin
Weaknesses: Shooting, Free Throw Shooting, Rebounding
How Far Will They Go?: Are they poised and ready for another big run? UCLA will end that in the next round.

No. 12 South Region - Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Head coach: Danny Kaspar Record: 31-2 Conference: Southland

What You Need To Know: The Lumberjacks might have the best team you haven't heard about this season. They haven't lost a game since November and have rarely been challenged. Danny Kaspar's squad has run off 28 straight victories, and the Lumberjacks have done it while getting their opponents' best effort every night, putting together their winning streak by playing efficient offense and sound fundamental defense that capitalizes on mistakes. They're all about balance. Four starters average double figures in scoring, led by guard Desmond Haymon. He uses his quickness to get to the bucket and does a good job of taking care of the basketball. Forward Jason Parker and guard Thomas Walkup are solid scorers and strong rebounders, and Parker's range forces opponents away from the basket. Guard Deshaunt Walker is just six-foot, but he moves his feet well on defense and benefits offensively from all the attention that is paid to the rest of the backcourt. Offensive production falls off past forward Nikola Gajic, and a lack of size could be the Lumbersjacks' undoing in the Dance.
Strengths: Assists, Turnover Margin, Scoring
Weaknesses: Blocked Shots, Field Goal Percentage, Free Throw Shooting
How Far Will They Go?: They'll be plucky, but they won't get by VCU.